Collection Online
oil on canvasboard
54.4 × 46.5 cm
inscribed in grey paint l.l.: S. M. CRAIG.
inscribed in ink on paper label on reverse: Victorian Constable / Not for Sale / (...illeg.)I Craig / (...illeg.)...Dandenong / Caulfield / Victoria.(...illeg.)
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift from the Estate of Sybil Craig, 1990
© Estate of Sybil Craig
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
Subjects (general)
Law, Civics and Protest Portraits
Subjects (specific)
coats (garments) constables hats men (male humans) police officers three-quarter views uniforms


FRAME: Original, by W. & G. Dean, Melbourne

This delightfully rustic frame is believed to be contemporary with the date of the painting. Frames using rough timber in this manner are referred to as rough deals.W. & G. Dean are known for their activities as artists’ colourmen more than as frame makers, though some versions of their stencil applied to canvases denote framers as well as artist colourmen.2 This label clearly indicates the frame-making function. The frame is a rare example of this simple aesthetic used for the presentation of a somewhat formal portrait.3 The use of the rough surface of the timber can also be found in the earlier framing of Aby Altson’s Flood sufferings from 1890.


1 A frame of this type is reproduced in Jacob Simon, The Art of the Picture Frame, p. 46, fig 37.

2 The company’s stencil appears on the support of: John Ford Paterson’s Fernshaw, 1900 (77–2); Hugh Ramsay’s Lady with a fan, 1904 (1196–4); Frederick McCubbin’s Wattle glade, 1905 (A22–1980); J.C.Waite’s Alfred Felton, 1905, (245–2) (p. 00); Frederick McCubbin’s The pool of London, 1907, (A24-1980); Frederick McCubbin’s Moonrise, 1909 (A28–1980); Frederick McCubbin’s Bush sawyers, 1910; Frederick McCubbin’s Landscape, South Yarra, 1910 (3067–4); Frederick McCubbin’s Autumn morning, South Yarra, 1916 (3164–4) (p. 00); Frederick McCubbin’s Landscape, Macedon, 1917 (1992–4); Hugh Ramsay, Tom, c. 1903 (1199–4); Hugh Ramsay, Lady with fan, 1901 (1196–4); John Longstaff’s The black hat (1778–3); Bernard Hall, Asia (299–4); Bernard Hall’s The model and the globe (4411–3); Bernard Hall’s The Rotunda, Melbourne Gallery (A01–1987); Frederick McCubbin’s Eliza Hall (705–5); Walter Withers’ Yachts off Williamstown (A54–1980); John Ford Paterson’s Tallarook on Sunday (61–5); John Ford Paterson’s St. Ives (1800–4); Frederick McCubbin’s The pool, Heidelberg (1910).

3 Another painting by Craig, in a private collection, dated 1933 and possibly a study for this painting, has a similarly angled frame made from recycled architectural moulding.

W. & G. Dean
Equitable Place, Off 320 Collins Street West, Melbourne

The frame is simply made. The outer section of flat, rough-sawn timber is nailed at the mitres and angled to form a shallow bevel, apparently not glued. The timber is rough-sawn on all faces, except the inner-edge bevel, and is characteristic of oregon pine. The surface is painted with a gold colour on the face and bevel, without preparation. The pale, burnished silver slip is finished with a coloured size to appear gold.


The original surfaces are in good condition, though a considerable level of oxidation of the painted surface should be assumed. The mitres have been re-enforced from the reverse with metal angles screwed in place.

85.0 x 75.5 x 6.0 cm; sight 53.5 x 44.5